Thursday, February 18, 2016

Take Home Reading

Good news!  Our Take Home Reading books are coming home today.  

We have several different classroom libraries in our room, but this one is reserved for "leveled" reading books.  While most of our books are organized my author, genre, or topic, this section is organized by level of difficulty.  I use the Fountas and Pinnell leveled reading system (if that means anything to you).  In this system, books are leveled according to word count, number of pages, and difficulty of text.  Although I really love this system, there is a wide range within each level.  An "A" book could have one or two words on a page and it could also have full sentences on a page.  There certainly isn't a science to leveling these books, but I've tried to be as close to the Fountas and Pinnell system as possible. 

Kids will move quickly through the levels.  Kindergartners are expected to be at Level D by the end of the school year, but if they go past that level I will just keep letting them go on up.

The books kids take home are meant to be EASY.  These are the books that kids can read with 95%-100% accuracy without adult help.  So, yes, they should be able to fly through these books.  We want kids' first experiences with books to be positive, and let kids feel like, "Hey, I can read this whole book by myself!"  The books kids read during our in-class Guided Reading groups will be the books that kids can read at 90%-94% accuracy.  This is the time that I will be able to guide kids in their reading and help them move to the next level.

Today, kids will be bringing home their reading books.  Most kids are starting at Level A.  Kids will take home their book each afternoon and return the book the following school day.  Every single day, they will get a new book and you will probably notice that they are able to progress quickly.  Please, please, please, help your child keep track of their Take Home Reading Book.  I have had to purchase almost all of these books out of my own pocket, so please help them get returned each day.  

This is the letter that is coming home with your child's homework packet tonight:

Today your child will be bringing home their TAKE HOME READING BOOK!  Each student will bring home a book from our leveled reading library. Most of these books are my own personal books, so please remind your child to be extra careful with them and return them to school every day.  We are starting off very easy, with most kids in level A or B books.  Our goal is to have children reading at level D or higher by the end of kindergarten.  Children should be reading material that they can already read or will easily learn to read. As emergent readers, the students should not be reading material that is too difficult or frustrating for them. In our program it is crucial to build confidence in these young readers and make reading a positive experience. Please note also, that there are varying levels of difficulty within each level- if your child’s book seems too easy or hard today, it is possible that the book tomorrow may be a little different, even though it is the same level.
You may want to start by taking a “picture walk” through the book with your child.  Talk about what you think might happen in the story and “plant” a few of those key words into their vocabulary.  You can also read the entire book to your child to start out, then have them read the book to you.  Please know that ALL kids will memorize these books at some point.  They will zip through them and appear to not be reading at all.  To some extent, this is a good thing!  They are gaining confidence and feeling good about the process.  I usually let kids do this a few times, but then also slow them down and ask them to point to the words individually as they read.
The reading practice at home should take no longer than 10 minutes, but that time is imperative to their development. We hope that you will make time each night to listen to your child read.  Daily reading practice and lots of encouragement will help your child as they learn to build and improve their reading skills. 
Please be sure to send the book (in the bag) back to school each day.   

Thanks for helping!

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